The treadmill has become the favoured piece of exercise equipment for people of all ages who want to be fit and healthy. A younger enthusiast uses it to maintain muscle tone and energy for the years ahead. An older user who is often well into his or her retirement, finds daily treadmill exercise invaluable in preventing stiff joints and retaining useful mobility particularly after surgery. And many a dieter has discovered that walking on one for a few hours each day is the most effective strategy for reducing weight that ultimately stays lost.
Why choose an Electric Treadmill?
Manual and electric treadmills achieve the same goals but in very different ways. The less expensive manual treadmill requires you to physically turn the running deck with your feet as you push against the handlebars. The effort involved places an increased pressure on hip and knee joints. An electric treadmill is much easier to use as it turns the deck for you enabling you to walk or run with a natural posture. The handrails provide reassuring stability for those who need extra support and sometimes contain controls that are easy to reach. Even the most basic electric treadmill operates at variable speeds offering variety and challenge.
How to choose an Electric Treadmill
There is a huge choice of treadmills available with different capabilities across all price ranges. Many users who have limited funds or newcomers to treadmill exercise who aren’t convinced of their long-term commitment, often select one of the compact budget treadmills from companies such as Confidence, Nero Sports or Bodyfit. These are excellent machines in their particular category providing uncomplicated exercise programs without the additional features of the sophisticated models. Other factors to take into consideration are size and weight. The available space on the running platform generally increases as the treadmills become more expensive. If you are serious about hard running as opposed to light jogging you should choose a larger deck. Budget treadmills typically bear user weights of up to 100kg while models in the top range can often withstand up to 200kg.
Investing in the best treadmill you can afford will bring additional features to enhance your daily runs. Some examples to look out for include:
- Customisable programs
- Adjustable incline
- Shock absorbing platform
- Heart rate monitor
- Inbuilt entertainment
This sleek, mid-range model combines affordability with some excellent features. The large, easy to use console is simplistic in design with a panel that enables you to smoothly alternate between twelve different speeds of up to 12km/h without interrupting your running pattern. It is ideal for interval training where you intersperse low and high speeds. For convenience, alternative controls are built into the handles. The running platform is a respectable 42cm by 120cm and provides adequate space for the longer strides of users who are over six feet tall. The lightly cushioned deck has an integral shock absorber system that reduces the impact on heels and knee joints. The treadmill’s weight is 49kg, offering superb stability and support for users up to 120kg/19 stone. You can monitor your heart rate and calorie reduction along with distance, speed and time.
2. Reebok – ZR8
In a slightly higher category is this versatile treadmill which makes walking, fast sprints and lengthy marathons a pleasure. Although the machine is fairly compact, the running deck is a generous 41cm by 126cm and it’s equipped with Zig Tech cushioned shock absorption for a truly comfortable journey. Weighing 67kg it’s ideal for user weights up to 110kg/17 stone. A beneficial feature is the adjustable incline with twelve different settings that adds greater variety and challenge to your landscape while burning excess calories four-fold. There are twenty-four automatic programs that simulate running courses from easy flat pathways to complicated mountainous terrain. The ZR8’s maximum speed is 16km/h. The console records various performance data including your heart rate. Entertainment is on hand with your choice of music through smartphone connection to the inbuilt speakers.
In a similar price category is this robust model which is suitable for all abilities from novices to experienced runners. It boasts Digital Controller Technology to vary the speeds from a slow walking pace up to a fast 16km/h. On the handrail there is an adjustable incline facility with twenty different settings to add an ever-increasing challenge to your runs. Combined with the fifteen customisable pre-set programmes you’ll have no shortage of variations to keep your exercise interesting.
The running deck is 41cm by 123cm and is cushioned with a sixteen point shock absorbing system to reduce wear and tear on your joints and ligaments. The maximum user weight is up to 120kg/19 stone. Entertainment during your workout is supplied by MP3, iPhone and iPod connections that relay your favourite music through the inbuilt high output speaker system. There are even holders for refreshments.
For a slightly larger investment in the middle range category is this high-performance treadmill. It brings a considerable increase in the size of the running deck which is 52cm by 140cm. The belt is thick, has an excellent grip and is suitably cushioned to absorb the shocks sustained during exercise. Variable speeds reach up to a maximum of 20km/h. A Quick Keys facility is accessible on the console and the handles to enable you to safely change speeds for advanced interval training.
The treadmill is equipped with twenty-five automated programs fifteen of which are fully-customisable. Combined with an adjustable incline mode there are enough variations to keep every training session interesting. The easy to read, backlit LCD console displays everything you need to know about your distance, speed, timing and heart rate. There is also Bluetooth connection complete with a Kino Map app for an entertaining workout. The treadmill weighs 84kg and is ideal for users up to 130kg.
Placed towards the high end of the mid-ranged treadmills is the Branx Elite. The machine is sturdily built with a weight of 93kg and features one of the quietest motors available. The 2mm thick running deck is a comparable 48cm by 140cm but it is exceptionally vibration-free and is complemented by a ten point, dual shock absorption cushioning system. The treadmill can reach up to an impressive 21km/h and features an automated adjustable incline for an increased resistance over twenty-two levels.
Controls are placed on the comfortable handles for convenience in addition to the console. There are twenty-one pre-set programs which include customisation for flexible training sessions. The LCD display records all your performance data including calories burned and your heart rate. Bluetooth connectivity and inbuilt stereo speakers provide entertainment.
For the ultimate in treadmill luxury is this powerful model with a motor that is arguably quieter than the one listed above. Weighing in at a robust 140kg it can easily support user weights of up to 200kg. The layered running surface is one of the largest at 58cm by 160cm and incorporates an Active Damping shock absorption system for the most comfortable runs you’re ever likely to have. Variable speeds reach up to 21km/h and there’s an adjustable 18% incline mode for challenging resistance.
Although there are only twelve pre-set programmes, they include sophisticated modes that replicate the contours of a variety of landscapes including cities, countryside hills and difficult tracks through steep forests. With seamless interval training speed controls, the possibilities for creative workouts are endless. And as if that’s not enough, the entertainment facilities are impressive. In addition to WiFi, the treadmill incorporates Android smart technology to provide you with access to your favourite You Tube music tracks and videos. And if you should ever want to put your treadmill in storage, there’s a Quick Fold system that uses hydraulic power to help.
Choosing the right electric treadmill involves a delicate balance between your budget, abilities, your commitment and weight. If you only want to use basic programs to maintain general fitness and health, choose a treadmill that is uncomplicated but robust enough to provide superior comfort and adequate protection for your muscles and joints. Experienced treadmill runners will no doubt appreciate the superior creativity offered by the models at the higher end of the categories. Challenging workouts need the variety of adjustable inclines and speeds used in interval training. If you find long distance runs indoors are rather dull opt for a treadmill with inbuilt entertainment. There are so many electric treadmills to choose from that are worthy of investment to suit your price and abilities, you’ll probably be spoilt for choice.